In a continuation of the pattern of excess rainfall recorded in Kerala this month, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) sounded code red rain alerts, indicating ‘extremely heavy’ rainfall, in seven districts of the state on Monday and five districts on Tuesday.
This is the first time that the IMD has issued red alerts during the northeast monsoon season this year.
According to IMD data, Kerala has recorded 292.2 mm rainfall since October 1 against ‘actual’ rainfall of 212.4 mm, a departure of 38%. While three districts recorded ‘excess’ rainfall, six others reported ‘large excess’ rainfall.
Ernakulam and Kottayam districts, in central Kerala, recorded the most rainfall this October.
The present situation this week has been exacerbated by the formation of a low-pressure area over the east-central Arabian, which is ‘very likely’ to become a ‘well-marked low’ and intensify further into a depression during the subsequent 24 hours. At the same time, another low-pressure area is predicted to form over southwest and adjoining west-central Bay of Bengal along Tamil Nadu and Andhra coasts over October 23.
The presence of both of these weather formations has intensified the rainfall in Kerala.
On Monday, heavy rainfall, which began Sunday evening, pummelled the city of Kochi, disrupting road and rail traffic and causing major inconvenience to thousands of commuters and office-goers.
While city bus services slowed down, the Kochi Metro ran smoothly, helping commuters to travel between Aluva and Thykoodam. Operations at the Cochin International Airport, situated in a low-lying area and prone to frequent flooding, progressed without any disruptions, officials said.
Power supply in various areas of the city like Edappally, Kaloor and Ernakulam remained disrupted for hours due to sub-stations of the state electricity board getting flooded. The residence of Ernakulam MP Hibi Eden was also flooded, with waters entering his house.
At the same time, due to tracks getting overrun by the waters at the Ernakulam South railway station, several passenger and Express trains were partially and completely suspended.
The Ernakulam-Bengaluru Intercity Express, Ernakulam-Kayamkulam passenger, Guruvayur-Ernakulam passenger and Kollam-Ernakulam passenger were fully cancelled on Monday.
Educational institutions in four districts of the state were given a holiday on account of the rains.
Polling process hampered
The rains on Monday hampered the polling process in the ongoing bypolls in Aroor, Ernakulam, Konni, Manjeswar, and Vattiyoorkavu.
The situation was particularly serious in the Ernakulam, Aroor and Konni constituencies where voters were forced to wade through knee-deep water to get to polling stations.
Several booths in Ernakulam and Konni had no power supply with the voting process being conducted with the help of candles. But Kerala’s Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena rejected reports that the polling process could be postponed.
As of 2 pm, Aroor stood first with 53.39% voting, followed by Konni (52.60%), Manjeswar (49.83%), Vattiyoorkavu (45.92%) and Ernakulam (33.79%).
In Manjeswar, the bypoll was necessitated by the death of the sitting MLA. In all other seats, the sitting MLAs got elected to the Lok Sabha in the parliamentary elections.
The counting of votes will take place on Thursday (October 24).